Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bathroom Facelift: Light Fixtures

Shopping at the hardware store a few weeks ago, I was determined to find something to replace the 30-year-old light fixtures in our bathroom. They were pseudo brass with ruffled, frosted glass. The brass paint had flaked off in places and though we'd replaced the stiff turn-switch on the bottoms, the kids still could not reach them to turn them on and off. (Part of the quirkiness of our house means they are not wired into the wall switch.) See before picture.


I found the most darling fixtures at the hardware store, in the outdoor lighting section. Little brown lanterns, they look like they belong on a wharf, perfect for my beachy lighthouse theme. The first order of business after unpacking them from their boxes was to install a switch of some sort.


I used to work in a lighting store repairing lamps and I was trained in doing little electrical projects like putting in switches. In fact I remember my boss doing a very similar install on a ceiling fixture. So it wasn't hard to drill a hole in the side of the casing (a little scary to drill metal), install a pull-switch and wire it into the fixture, ready to set into the wall.


With Hubby down at the breaker box we yelled back and forth until we'd gotten both circuits killed. (Yes, another quirk of this house is that the bathroom fixtures, only two feet apart are on separate circuits, one being on the one with the living room, oddly enough.) Then I took out the old fixtures, marveling at the mounting hardware installed directly into the lath and the old, cloth-covered wiring, which, thankfully was in good condition.


I carefully took out the old hardware, installed my new stuff and wired in the new fixtures, taking the precaution of covering the wire nuts with a wrapping of electrical tape. Putting the fixtures up, we also found that the way they're designed means it's necessary to take them completely apart to get the bulbs in. That'll be a picnic when it comes time to change the bulbs!


Ta Da! There they are, my little wharf-lanterns. The best part is that I put a long enough pull chain on them that the kids can reach to turn them on and off all by themselves! I am so all about kid-independence and not having to go turn the lights on so Little Mister can use his newly-acquired potty skills.

Previous Bathroom Facelift Posts:
Oh No!!
The New Blue


  1. Very nice. I see you are rennovating your bathroom too. We are on week three of our basement bathroom. Struggling right now trying to get a new door frame to fit squarely when the old walls are crooked. Me thinks they didn't measure much in the 1960's :( We're actually about a year in on our basement renno. We are rediculously close to being finished, but when you're doing it debt-free with four kids running around things happen s-l-o-w-l-y, especially when you're doing it yourself. Good idea about the pull strings!!

  2. Things definitely happen slowly... I can SO relate! I've been working on this wall all week. In one day I might get ten minutes of spackling done and that's it. All Day. But I figure any forward progress is still progress and I love having a project to do. I think Hubby will be glad to have it done though because it's our main bathroom and it's been a wreck all week with tools and cans of paint and spackle sitting everywhere. And I keep taking down the mirror.

  3. We've been functioning in a half-finished bathroom for almost 4 years. You sort of get used to it.